Manchester City entered their Monday night opener against West Bromwich Albion with a huge opportunity, and they took full advantage with a 3-0 drubbing of their hosts at the Hawthorns. Here are five thoughts from a near perfect opener from City.
1. Raheem Sterling Needs Work
Before getting to the overwhelmingly positive aspects of this match, City's latest big money signing needs to be addressed. Raheem Sterling's speed was undeniably fun to watch when he was being fed balls to get behind the West Brom defense. But his finishing will need to improve to justify the nearly 50 million pounds City dropped to acquire him this summer. While failing to score in a one on one with the keeper doesn't matter when you have a nice lead against an inferior opponent, it will against the elite of the country and continent down the road.
2. Yaya Toure Is Back
Holding up the ball in the middle of the park, swinging it out wide when necessary, and looking for his shot, Yaya Toure looked like the Yaya Toure of other non-AFCON years rather than the moody, lethargic big fella of last season. And while his first goal, City's season opener, won't make any end of year highlight reels, his second was a thing of beauty.
Someone bake this man a cake immediately.
3. Vincent Kompany Is Fired Up
Vincent Kompany, like many of City's stars, didn't have a great year last year. And, also like many of City's stars, you could tell that he wasn't looking to get off on the wrong foot this season. Physical yet never out of control defensively, Kompany and his back line were strong for the majority of the match, and his goal to put City up 3-0 saw the captain unleash some emotion in defiance to the haters he's accumulated in recent months.
Surely it's enjoyable whenever one of ours put one in the back of the net, but this goal was clearly cathartic for Kompany, whose last year of shaky performances, locker room dustups, and questions about how deserving he was to remain in the squad are hopefully fully behind him at this stage.
4. City Are Top Of The Table
DON'T CARE IF THEY'RE ONE MATCH IN. TOP OF THE TABLE.
5. Sunday Presents A Massive Opportunity
Last season, City were chasing Chelsea for the bulk of the year, needing points in their matches just to keep within shouting distance of the eventual champions. This year the two sides play in just the second week of the season, with the first week setting up a golden opportunity for City.
Thanks to Chelsea's unexpected draw with Swansea, City's win over West Brom, and Thibaut Courtois' deserved red card for his take down of Bafetimbi Gomis, City have a chance at home to go five points clear of a Chelsea side who will need to hope that Asmir Begovic has a better day than most of his previous days at the Etihad.
So far so good, everyone. Your thoughts welcome below, including all of the praise for David Silva.